Willow Koerber rode out front with Kalentieva the majority of the contest © Rob Jones

We may be a little late with our mountain biking news here, but last weekend the best in the off-road business were mixing it up at the season’s first World Cup in Yorkshire, UK. Many of the top talent from the U.S. are also names you’ll recognize from the domestic ‘cross scene, including Todd Wells, Michael Broderick, Georgia Gould, Mary McConneloug and Katerina Nash – who, although a Czech citizen, lives in California, spends her ‘cross season racing in the U.S. and, after her World Cup win and near miss at a World’s podium, we’re all to eager to claim as our own. World Cup #2 in Houffalize, Belgium is wrapping up right now, and Willow Koerber has snagged another second place, making her the first American to lead the MTB World Cup standings since Alison Dunlap in 2002.

World Cup #1 Report from USA Cycling:
Yorkshire, Great Britain – The 2010 UCI Mountain Bike World Cup season got underway on Sunday with two Americans on the podium in the women’s cross country contest. Willow Koerber (Durango, Colo./Subaru-Gary Fisher) earned her best-ever finish in international competition finishing second, only 11 seconds behind reigning world champion Irina Kalentieva (RUS). After leading a chase group in pursuit of the leading pair, American compatriot Georgia Gould (Fort Collins, Colo./Luna) joined Koerber on the podium in fourth.

Kalentieva and Koerber were able to establish a lead around the second of the five-lap, 36-kilometer affair. The Luna squad quickly formed a chase group to hunt down the reigning world and Pan-American champions with Gould, Katerina Nash (CZE/Luna) and Catherine Pendrel (CAN/Luna) leading the way. The group drew to within 14 seconds of the leaders before fading to finish nearly half a minute behind the winner.

Americans Heather Irmiger (Boulder, Colo./Subaru-Gary Fisher) finished ninth and Mary McConneloug (Chilmark, Mass./Kenda-Seven-Notubes) was 14th to land four U.S. women inside the top 15 in the World Cup opener. Pua Sawicki (Yucaipa, Calif./ also finished 44th.

In the men’s 43-kilometer affair later in the day, Todd Wells (Durango, Colo./Specialized) was the top American finisher in 19th, while former USA Cycling National Development Program rider Sam Schultz (Missoula, Mont../Subaru-Gary Fisher) came in 30th. Reigning USA Cycling National Champion Jeremy Horgan-Kobelski (Boulder, Colo./Subaru-Gary Fisher) was 39th and Michael Broderick (Chilmark, Mass./Kenda-Seven-No Tubes) was 106th.

The second of the nine-round UCI Mountain Bike World Cup will continue in Houffalize, Belgium, May 1-2. For more information on the UCI Mountain Bike World Cup, visit the UCI MTB World Cup Website.

UCI Mountain Bike World Cup #1
Yorkshire, Dalby Forest, GBR

For complete results, click here.
To view photos from the event, click here.

Elite Women’s Cross Country, 36 kilometers
1. Irina Kalentieva (RUS/Topeak Ergon) 1:54:57
2. Willow Koerber (Durango, Colo./Subaru-Gary Fisher) 0:11

3. Katerina Nash (CZE/Luna) 0:28
4. Georgia Gould (Fort Collins, Colo./Luna) 0:29
9. Heather Irmiger (Boulder, Colo./Subaru-Gary Fisher ) 1:46
14. Mary McConneloug (Chilmark, Mass./Kenda-Seven-Notubes) 3:18
44. Pua Sawicki (Yucaipa, Calif./ 11:19

Elite Men’s Cross Country, 43 kilometers
1. Nino Schurter (SWI/Scott-Swisspower) 1:54:52
2. Julien Absalon (FRA/Orbea) 0:01
3. Burry Stander (RSA/Specialized) 0:14
19. Todd Wells (Durango, Colo./Specialized) 3:49
30. Sam Schultz (Missoula, Mont../Subaru-Gary Fisher) 5:43
39. Jeremy Horgan-Kobelski (Boulder, Colo./Subaru-Gary Fisher) 7:25
106. Michael Broderick (Chilmark, Mass./Kenda-Seven-No Tubes) 14:59